Gobble, Gobble, Slip, Slop: A Tale of a Very Greedy Cat

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Who ever heard of a cat so greedy it swallowed its friend, the parrot, then a nosy old woman, a farmer and his donkey, and even the sultan’s royal wedding procession? Meilo So’s hungry, irascible tabby just opens his mouth and—gobble, gobble, slip, slop—down its gullet they go. Each page shows the cat getting fatter and fatter until two small land crabs put an end to the cat’s greed. With a glorious gatefold pull-out, So wraps up her story with all of the victims, including the sultan’s elephant, tumbling out of ...
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Overview

Who ever heard of a cat so greedy it swallowed its friend, the parrot, then a nosy old woman, a farmer and his donkey, and even the sultan’s royal wedding procession? Meilo So’s hungry, irascible tabby just opens his mouth and—gobble, gobble, slip, slop—down its gullet they go. Each page shows the cat getting fatter and fatter until two small land crabs put an end to the cat’s greed. With a glorious gatefold pull-out, So wraps up her story with all of the victims, including the sultan’s elephant, tumbling out of the cat’s tummy as good as new.

Retold from an Indian folktale, it’s as preposterous as “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” and much more fun. Children will join in the gobble, gobble, slip, slop refrain and want to look at the irresistible artwork again and again.

In this story based on a folktale from India, a very greedy cat eats five hundred cakes, his friend the parrot, the nosy old woman, and much more.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
With Gobble, Gobble, Slip, Slop, So used rice paper for her watercolor-and-ink work, which adds to the folkloric flavor of the story. The cat is a lovely shade of blue with black squiggles, and there of course is more of this blue with every page. (When the cat lies down after eating the wedding procession, children will have fun detecting the big lumps in his belly.) Spare, telling details—palm trees here, a distant palace there—gradually accumulate until the climax, with a sumptuous fold-out page presenting the veritable village that emerges from the cat's stomach.—Abby McGanney Nolan
Publishers Weekly
Tropical colors and bold brushwork burst forth from the pages of So's (Tasty Baby Belly Buttons) first solo outing. Against the backdrop of old India's towers and minarets, So retells the Indian folktale "The Cat and the Parrot," about a feline so greedy he eats a mountain of cakes, the parrot who made them, and much more before he repents. The narrative barrels along in a cumulative style-"I've eaten five hundred cakes,/ I've eaten my friend the parrot,/ I've eaten the nosy old woman,/ I've eaten the farmer and his donkey,/ and I can eat all of you, too,/ I can, I can./ .../ So gobble,/ gobble,/ slip, slop/ the cat ate the sultan and his bride." Meanwhile, like the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, feast by feast, the cat's portrait grows from one page to occupying a full spread, his big furry belly transforming into a sea of white. So's accomplished use of spare gouache strokes, ink lines and controlled areas of hot color deftly convey texture and action. The eating spreads show the hapless victims disappearing one after another under the cat's enormous whiskers, each mouthful more outlandish than the last. Only when a couple of digested crabs realize they can cut their way out of the cat's huge stomach can everyone exit, a scene so sprawling that it requires a gatefold to show the exodus. A thoroughly satisfying cautionary tale that youngsters will clamor to take off the shelf for another look. Ages 3-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This cumulative tale of a greedy cat, based on an Indian folktale, has overtones of "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" and the cadences of "The Gingerbread Man." When challenged by the parrot whose cakes he has gobbled, the cat swallows him. The title refrain is then repeated as he swallows, in turn, a scolding old woman, a farmer and his donkey, and even a sultan, his bride and soldiers, along with the elephant the couple were riding. When two scuttling crabs insult him, the cat laughs, repeats his cumulative refrain, and eats them as well. On a startling black double-page spread, the crabs hear the assorted noises made by all those swallowed before them, printed in bold colors. Then a yawn by the cat lets in light. Seeing what is in there, the crabs snip open the cat's belly. A fold-out displays the parade out of the cat, leaving him the task of sewing himself up again. Such whimsy demands the light-hearted touch of So's watercolors. Her choice of textured, cream-colored paper adds elegance to the visual narrative as it eliminates the need for background details. Humor dominates our responses. The portrait of the cat splashed across the front to the back of the jacket is a delight. 2004, Alfred A Knopf/Random House Children's Books, Ages 3 to 6.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Library Journal
K-Gr 3-The story of a voracious cat that gobbles up everyone and everything in his path is found in many cultures. So's choice of an Indian variant to retell makes for an interesting menu, as the creature devours a nosy old lady, a sultan and his bride, and a troop of elephants. The smoothly written text reads aloud well, and children will enjoy chiming in on the "gobble, gobble, slip, slop" refrain that appears in a hot-pink font and increases in proportion to the cat's expanding girth. The jewel-toned illustrations, done in ink and watercolor on rice paper, feature large, dramatic figures to capture immediate interest; the eye is then gradually drawn to smaller details foretelling the next victim. After two crabs free those that have been consumed, the characters emerge from the feline's stomach in an impressive gatefold. A tasty addition to folklore or picture-book shelves.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A feline gourmand with a bad attitude eats everything and everyone that comes into reach, then gets its comeuppance at the hands-or pincers-of a pair of tiny crabs in this "Fat Cat" variant. So retains her early-20th-century antecedent's Indian setting, depicted in vigorously stroked, calligraphic tangles, and swoops of color, but gives the language a modern, familiar cant with echoes of "The Gingerbread Boy." Boasts the cat, "I've eaten five hundred cakes, I've eaten my friend the parrot, I've eaten the nosy old woman, and I can eat you too, I can, I can." A tale that should be in every storyteller's repertoire, in one form or another, this lively retelling makes a welcome replacement for Jeanne B. Hardendorff's out-of-print rendition, Slip, Slop, Gobble (1970). (source note) (Picture book/folktale. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375825040
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/9/2004
  • Pages: 30
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.32 (d)

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